Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Oct.17, 2003
A US study on newspaper editorial staff
One news-editor for every 1,000 copies sold – states an American rule of thumb on newspaper staffing. In the light of this formula, media researchers Philip Meyer and Minjeong Kim from the University of North Carolina have examined the effects of cutbacks or increases in editorial staff on a newspaper’s circulation (in: Newspaper Research Journal, Vol. 24, No. 3, summer 2003, 76-82).
The researchers interpret their results with all required caution, referring to numerous intervening variables. Above all, more must of course be known about the quality and competence of the editors as well as about the leadership qualities of the paper’s management, in order to be able to make definitive statements. Nevertheless, in the opinion of the scientists, “all those analysts who see a newspaper as nothing more than a platform for delivering eyeballs to advertisers in the cheapest manner possible” should have second thoughts. They should reflect on what ultimately attracts those readers’ eyeballs to the platform. After all, the editorial staffing and thus the quality of the contents of a newspaper does influence commercial success.